'Memory and Desire' is a lavishly illustrated account of the art world in Britain at the turn of the twentieth century. It calls upon rich resources of contemporary diaries, letters and art criticism, as well as the analysis of works of art to answer questions about how and why new artistic tendencies emerged and tastes changed. Eschewing the familiar narrative of an inevitable progress towards modernism, Kenneth McConkey considers a broad range of art and critical thinking in the period. Discussing the market for old master paintings, which rivalled those for modern art, and the question of how and why certain genres of art were particularly successful at the time, McConkey explores the detail and significance of contemporary taste. He draws upon the work of commercially successful painters such as John Singer Sargent, William Orpen, George Clausen, Alfred East, John Lavery and Philip Wilson Steer, and their critic-supporters to throw light upon current arguments about training, aesthetics, visual memory and the creation of new art. 'Memory and Desire' is a major contribution to our knowledge of this important period in British art.